To be Christian is to share a common life with others, a way of life that joins us together in submission to Jesus. That means that the Church is always a community of practices. When we are baptized, we are each baptized into a community whose practices enable us and form us to “share in the life of God for the life of the world.”
As we share in God’s life through these common practices, we are inevitably shaped as a people, which means the Church is also meant to be a community in formation, a people "being saved," not a static collection of “saved souls.” The work of the Church is always becoming—becoming more and more like Jesus. The best thing we can give the world is the community we become.
What, then, are these common practices that unite us to God and to one another? What practices are we being invited to perform together in order to become more like Christ? When we invite others into our common life at All Saints, what are we inviting them to perform along with us?
Our Common Prayer
What unites us as a community more than anything else is our common worship of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We share in this common prayer primarily through the liturgies of The Book of Common Prayer: the Eucharist, the Daily Office, the Church Calendar, the Lectionary, and so forth. Such liturgies only incite us to engage in even more shared practices of prayer: silent retreats, discernment teams, centering prayer, lectio divina, pilgrimages, and more. Through our common practices of prayer, we are a community in formation (being saved).
Our Common Catechesis
Our common life together is pointed in the same direction: to obey everything Jesus has commanded us as the Way to manifest the kingdom of God on earth. This Way of life requires catechesis, that is, instruction, training, teaching, and accountability. We share in this common catechesis in a variety of ways: the study of Scripture, mentoring, walking alongside children, reflection groups, healthy deliberation and correction, pastorates, and more. Through our common practices of catechesis, we are a community in formation (being saved).
Our Common Care
Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment: “as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” We are therefore called to pick up a towel and serve each other in tangible ways. We share in this common care through hospitality, healing prayer, care meals, helping with Sunday services, financial generosity, reconciliation, and more. Through our common practices of care, we are a community in formation (being saved).
Our Common Witness
As the Father sent the Son, so Jesus sends us into the world in the power of the Spirit. The Church is always in the world and for the world, seeking to demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ and his kingdom in both word and deed. We share in this common witness by seeking justice in our communities, serving the common good, blessing others through our unique vocation, sharing with those in need, and more. Through our common practices of witness, we are a community in formation (being saved).
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To learn more, consider listening to our recent sermon series entitled "A Community of Practices."